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I’m just back from a whirlwind trip to Florida where, highly unusual for me, I remembered no dreams. But now that I’m home, it’s time to gather up the February dreams I shared on Twitter and see what meaning can be found when they’re together.

Last month, my dreams included Taylor Swift, Jesse Ventura, Hugh Laurie, Ian McKellen, Andy Kaufman, and … who knows … maybe you!

February 2015

Here’s a dream I lost because my middle-of-the-night note now makes no sense: BIG FAT BOOK PEN NAME MARGE – ? SEPARATED FROM BKLYN FRIENDS. Feb 28

I dreamt Harlan Ellison for some dream reason I don’t understand autographed one of @Cadigan‘s books to me, and scribbled a note to my wife. Feb 28

I dreamt I was with Dennis Etchison laughing about the time I shaved my head in the middle of a previous con (which BTW never happened IRL). Feb 28

I dreamt I was at the end of dinner at @VOLT_RANGE, and couldn’t wait to see what desserts @bttrlovehardwrk had waiting. I must be hungry! Feb 27

I dreamt I wandered a hotel that supposedly hosted the World Horror Con, but all I could find were cult members in brightly colored robes. Feb 27

I dreamt I was visiting with my parents, whose house was now immediately next to Disneyland. Meaning — right across the street! What fun! Feb 27

I dreamt @mrbelm and @rosefox visited, and while they were in my basement, I ran up and down bringing them snacks. But — Vegan cheese? Feb 27

I dreamt that while at Worldcon, I bumped into Rudy Giuliani. Weirdly, he was dressed like a hippie — paisley, long hair, love beads, etc.! Feb 27

I dreamt I visited my doctor, portrayed Portlandia-style by Fred Armisen, then I couldn’t go! He kept blocking me from leaving his office. Feb 26

I dreamt I got a call a neighbor was in trouble, looked outside, and spotted her crawling through the snow. I helped her in, phoned 911. Feb 26Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

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scottedelman
17 February 2015 @ 11:42 am

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Finishing the February 20th issue of Entertainment Weekly, I glanced at the ad on the back cover, and was immediately puzzled. Wasn’t that a quote from Theodore Roosevelt’s famous speech delivered at the Sorbonne in 1910?

Cadillac wouldn’t just go ahead and use the quote without attribution, would it?

CadillacAdTheodoreRooseveltQuote

Cadillac would.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

 
 
scottedelman

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I always wince at those old-style comedians who joke about how much they hate their spouses and would rather be anywhere than with them. That “take my wife … please” kind of comedy has always rubbed me the wrong way, in part because I believe that if you really do have problems with your partner, it should stay between the two of you until it’s either solved or not. Mend it or end it, just don’t joke about it to me.

But it also bothers me because I think the reason some guys talk about their relationships that way—and this is sadder—is they’re afraid to make themselves seem vulnerable and weak by admitting, yes, they do love another person, and so instead joke about “the old ball and chain.”

JailJamas

Which is why I didn’t find the product advertised on the inside front cover of Top Love Stories #14 (1953) to be either funny or romantic. And yet the manufacturer thought it was both!

Jail-Jamas—with “genuine prison stripes” and a card that says “lose all hope ye who enter here”—are advertised as “romantic” and “sure to make a hit with love birds who have gone down the road to matrimony.”

For those who are slightly embarrassed that they’re in love, and so feel a need to mock that genuine emotion … perhaps. But for the rest of us, including the young women who probably made up most of the readers of that romance comic book … I don’t think so.

Not romantic. Not romantic at all.

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scottedelman

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Over on News From Me the other day, Mark Evanier posted an episode of The Abbott & Costello Show which is well worth watching, and not just for the classic bits. There’s also a scene during which Lou Costello is shown reading a comic book, one seen so briefly and so incompletely that we’ll likely never learn which comic book.

And you know how I get when I can’t identify a comic being used as a prop!

AbbottandCostelloComic

As you can see from the screen grab above, we never get a glimpse of the cover, just some blurry panels that would probably only be recognizable to someone who had completely memorized the interiors of every comic from that period.

That person isn’t me, and probably isn’t you either. But in the hope this might reach someone who does have such an eidetic memory, I’m putting the info out there.

Because if I don’t find out what comic book that was, how will I ever know peace?

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scottedelman

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The romance comic Top Love Stories #16 (February 1954) wants you to know that whatever your size, it’s the wrong size!

The first thing you see upon opening the issue is an ad on the inside front cover for Wate-On homogenized liquid, designed to make readers worry that they’re “skinny” and “scrawny” when instead they should have “firm, good-looking healthy flesh” and “extra pounds.”

WateOnAdTopLoveStories

Meanwhile, the last thing you see after reading the stories within is a back cover ad for Kelpidine chewing gum—with Hexitol—certain to make readers insecure that they have “ugly fatty bulges” rather than “that dreamed about silhouette.”Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

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scottedelman

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Time to once more round up a whole month’s dreams and see whether a theme can be found running through them. I haven’t discovered one yet in this or any other month, save that pop culture has rooted firmly in my subconscious, but who knows, something more meaningful might pop up yet.

Last month’s guest stars included Key and Peele, George Segal, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Christopher Lee, and more …

JANUARY 2015

I dreamt I wandered the streets of NYC with Jon Stewart, who showed me that there were now free buffets at all train stations and bus stops. Jan 30

I dreamt I listened as Stephen Jones and @effjayem coedited Famous Science Fiction Stories Inspired by Other Famous Science Fiction Stories. Jan 30

I dreamt I topped a sand dune to find a Great Gatsby-type party below on the beach. I played darts in one of the tents with a society dame. Jan 29

I dreamt my boss was Barry Malzberg and he had difficulty telling me I wasn’t getting a raise I expected. We swapped morgue stories instead. Jan 27

I dreamt I somehow gained Flash-like powers and used them to run all over NYC and take revenge on bullies. My father … was George Segal. Jan 27

I dreamt I was explaining the plot of Of Mice and Men (in which I once starred IRL) to two good old boys and trying very hard to not to cry. Jan 27

I dreamt a baker friend offered me one of her gourmet cookies, but whenever I’d lift one, all the tantalizing toppings would fall off. Nooo! Jan 26

I dreamt my wife and I were on opposite sides of a wide NYC avenue, and she shouted not to forget the ham. So I trudged the city, searching. Jan 26

I dreamt I was in a hospital, debating with friends the ripeness of carrots. Having never eaten an unripe carrot, no idea what that means. Jan 24

I dreamt my mother opened and read a letter from my son which seemed to be extremely important. Sadly, I woke before learning its contents. Jan 23Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

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scottedelman

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I normally don’t pitch my friends’ books here, because due to that friendship you probably wouldn’t trust me anyway, but since the last time Sam Maronie and I were together in the same place, this happened—

ScottEdelmanSanMaronie1975

—I figured I owed it to him to bring to your attention that, many decades later, long after he recovered from the wounds I inflicted, this happened.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

 
 
scottedelman
01 February 2015 @ 10:28 am

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I keep hearing that we’re supposed to be careful about what we post online, because once something is up on the Internet, it’s there forever. But that’s not always true, going by my recent experience shifting older posts from LiveJournal over to my own site here. I’ve been doing this not just to make that older content more searchable and available, but also because of my fears that the blogging service I started with back in 2007 might vanish someday, taking those posts with it.

What I’ve discovered is that though all of my earlier posts still seem present, many of the images associated with them have vanished from the LiveJournal gallery. This means that often, all that remains are blank boxes with questions marks in the middle, such as this instance from February 26, 2010.

MissingLiveJournalImage1

Luckily, I had saved all the images I’d personally uploaded, so I was able to restore that one when I added the post here.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

 
 
scottedelman

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Remember Candy Candido? He’s the comic singer I thought I’d never heard perform before last month who it turns out I’d known all my life, in everything from The Wizard of Oz and Sleeping Beauty to the ’60s TV series Gentle Ben, where he provided the voice of … the bear.

I fell in love with the guy, and immediately tried to track down everything about him I could, which in addition to the videos I’d shared earlier led me to a 1988 radio interview and something far more mysterious—a reference to a TV pilot unmentioned by either IMDb or Wikipedia.

A man named Ray Fiola, whose company Chelsea Rialto Studios restores classic film soundtracks, mentioned on a bulletin board that he owned “a very rare 16mm print of a Hal Roach TV pilot, BOTSFORDS BEANERY, in which he co-starred with Don Barclay.” How rare is info about this pilot? So rare that the only reference I could find anywhere online was in 1949 and 1952 issues of Billboard, as well as Hal Roach’s 1992 obituary in the L.A. Times—none of which mentioned Candido. No wonder the project wasn’t turning up on any Candido-related pages!

Apparently, as the market for film shorts was dying, Hal Roach, famous for his Our Gang and Laurel and Hardy films, decided to enter the TV market, and so filmed six TV pilots, of which Botsfords Beanery was one. As far as I can tell, though some local stations aired some of these as one-offs, none of them ever made it to series.

I immediately contacted Fiola and begged him for a copy. But he did better than that—he posted the entire pilot to YouTube, so now you get a chance to see it, too.

CandyCandidoTVPilot

The star of the pilot is Don Barclay (perhaps best known to modern audiences as Mr. Binnacle in Mary Poppins), playing restaurant owner Montgomery Botsford, with Ann Triola (best known for her comedy numbers in Lullaby of Broadway) as Agnes his wise-cracking waitress. Candido, who gets third billing, is the proprietor of Joe’s Barber Shop, with broad strokes reminding me of another TV Italian from that era, Joe Kirk as Mr. Bacciagalupe from The Abbott and Costello Show.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

 
 
scottedelman
27 January 2015 @ 04:26 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

My father, who died six years ago today, was a modest man, and far less likely to brag about his accomplishments than I am. Which means it wasn’t until recently, as I emptied out the desk in his studio while helping my mother pack for a move, that I learned he’d won the Jesse H. Neal Editorial Achievement Award for his work as the Art Director of Engineering & Mining Journal.

Folded tightly into a small presentation box with his award was the following telex from 1970.

BarnetEdelmanAwardTelex

I would have been 14 years old.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

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scottedelman

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Chip Delany and his writing recently, as evidenced by this post from a few weeks back, and that resulted in me suddenly remembering an interview I conducted with him more than thirteen years ago in support of the release of his 1974 novel Dhalgren.

The nearly 6,000-word interview originally ran on June 18, 2001 in Science Fiction Weekly #217. The contents of that magazine vanished from anywhere online save the Wayback Machine when Science Fiction Weekly merged with SCI FI Wire—or maybe it was when SCI Wire transformed into Blastr—taking this interview with it, which seems a shame. So here it is once more, rescued from the black hole of the Internet, following my original introduction …

NebulaAwardsScottEdelmanChipDelany

(This photo of us, however, is from May 2014.)

Samuel R. Delany launched his science-fiction career as a 20-year-old publishing prodigy with the novel The Jewels of Aptor in 1962. Other critically-acclaimed novels and short stories quickly followed, as did recognition from both fans and peers. He earned Nebula Awards for his novel Babel-17 (1966), as well as the short stories “Aye, and Gomorrah … ” (1967) and “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones” (1969), the latter of which also won a Hugo Award. By 1969, the author, editor and critic Algis Budrys was already calling Delany “the best science-fiction writer in the world,” which, based on the evidence at the time, did not seem to be that controversial a call.

The true controversy waited just around the corner. For at the height of his success, Delany sequestered himself to spend half a decade on his next project, Dhalgren, which when eventually published in 1974 was like no science-fiction novel seen before. The 800-page novel used experimental literary techniques to tell an apocalyptic tale containing explicit explorations of sexuality, race and gender. The controversial novel was either loved or hated, proving to be the most hotly debated SF novel of the decade. Vintage Books has just begun a publishing program to reissue all of Delany’s classic novels, beginning with Dhalgren.

Science Fiction Weekly interviewed Delany over lunch at the Hotel George in Washington, D.C., while he toured the country to promote Dhalgren‘s new home.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

 
 
scottedelman
24 January 2015 @ 05:19 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

There’s an easy way to tell whether you’re my kind of foodie, and that’s if upon taking a look at this photo from Edible Selby‘s gallery of the Copenhagen restaurant Noma …

NomaEdibleSelby

… you don’t think “I’ll pass” or “that’s weird” or “what the heck is that,” but instead, your first thought is —

I want that in my mouth RIGHT NOW!

Because that was my immediate, visceral reaction.

There are other ways to know whether we’re on the same culinary wavelength … but that’s a good start.

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scottedelman

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I told you earlier this month how I’d tried—and failed—to get a reservation at Noma to celebrate my milestone birthday later this year. Chef Rene Redzepi’s Copenhagen restaurant is currently considered the best in the world, and has been ranked as such four of the past five years. Noma’s home location is temporarily closed right now, and operating as a pop-up in Japan, where it reportedly has a waiting list of 60,000 people.

But last night, in a stunning surprise that I still can’t quite believe … I got my reservation!

Why is that so stunning?

Consider that a columnist for The Guardian once wrote: “The chances of getting a table at noma these days are about as likely as getting invited to the Queen’s Palace for dinner … ”

And that getting in is so difficult, the story of a woman who had a reservation and was looking for a date went viral.

So, yes. That I could get a table was astounding. How I was able to get that table is even more astounding, considering I let my dream of a milestone birthday dinner there go after my January 12th failure.

So I was stunned Wednesday night when—after I shared a recent review of the Japanese pop-up on Twitter to explain to my followers why I’d so wanted that birthday dinner—

NomaSniffTweet

—Chef Redzepi reached out to me personally and asked when my birthday was!Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

 
 
scottedelman
18 January 2015 @ 11:22 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Not sure why the editors at Charlton felt a need to publish a comic attacking those godless communists on the other side of the Iron Curtain in Love Diary #23 (September 1962), surrounded by the standard romance stories you’d expect to find in such a title, but for some reason, that’s exactly what they did.

“God is Never Out of Style,” drawn by Rocke Mastroserio and written by (your guess is as good as mine), instead of being about a woman’s search for true love, is rather a stern warning not to “scoff at the beliefs of our forefathers” and certainly never “be tempted at times to put your religion second.”

LoveDiary23

A check of the Grand Comics Database shows that this incongruous one-pager ran eight times, first in Teen-Age Love #27 (August 1962) and last in I Love You #44 (February 1963).

Bottom line—go to the beach instead of church</em> and it’ll be your fault if we lose the Cold War!

I have no idea what teens thought about the story 50+ years ago, but since we won (we did, didn’t we?), I take it they took its message to heart.

 
 
scottedelman

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We’ve already learned that the protagonist of the 1950 romance comic book story “Too Fat for Love” was required to slim down before finding true love, even though her man said he’d always loved her whatever her size, while the far more enlightened tale, 1949’s “Was I Too Fat to Be Loved?” didn’t demand its heroine lose a pound in order to embrace happiness.

A few years later, another tale on a similar topic—also titled “Too Fat for Love”—appeared in Great Lover Romances #3 (March 1952) and was later reprinted in Dream of Love #9 (1958). Which gives us a third chance to see how old timey romance comics dealt with society’s insistence that only women who maintain a certain idealized body size are deserving of love. (This time courtesy of artist Myron Fass and an uncredited writer.)

HollywoodPsychiatrist1

The story begins as “famous comedy star” Dorothy Drake takes a pie in the face on the set of her new movie. She hates being the butt of jokes, but knows that at her size, those are the only roles available.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

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scottedelman

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

We’ve already learned that the protagonist of the 1950 romance comic book story “Too Fat for Love” was required to slim down before finding true love, even though her man said he’d always loved her whatever her size, while the far more enlightened tale, 1949’s “Was I Too Fat to Be Loved?” didn’t demand its heroine lose a pound in order to embrace happiness.

A few years later, another tale on a similar topic—also titled “Too Fat for Love”—appeared in Great Lover Romances #3 (March 1952) and was later reprinted in Dream of Love #9 (1958). Which gives us a third chance to see how old timey romance comics dealt with society’s insistence that only women who maintain a certain idealized body size are deserving of love. (This time courtesy of artist Myron Fass and an uncredited writer.)

HollywoodPsychiatrist1

The story begins as “famous comedy star” Dorothy Drake takes a pie in the face on the set of her new movie. She hates being the butt of jokes, but knows that at her size, those are the only roles available.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

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scottedelman

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

So late last night—or early this morning, depending on how you keep track of these things—I attempted to book a table at Noma. With a milestone birthday coming in March, I figured, what better place to celebrate then at the Copenhagen restaurant that’s currently considered the best restaurant in the world? And since you might want to eat there someday, I thought I should share how it all went down.

Reservations for the date in question began at 10:00 a.m. Central European Time, which translates to 4:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, so I set an alarm for 3:45 a.m.—two alarms, actually, because I activated a Fitbit silent one to vibrate on my wrist in case the main alarm failed—and slept for a few hours before waking, stumbling downstairs, and being confronted by this pre-booking countdown screen.

NomaPreQueue

I had no idea how many others around the globe were staring at something similar, but found out, once 10:00 a.m. Central European Time rolled around, that there were at least 1,449 of them—because I was number 1,450, with an estimated wait time of more than an hour. And there were equally as many behind me in the queue, because when I decided to try logging in using my iPhone, I was assigned a number greater than 3,000.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

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scottedelman

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

A few weeks ago, I read Joanna Russ’s 1975 review of the movie A Boy and His Dog, which had originally been published in Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies. I hadn’t intended to, and wasn’t deliberately seeking it out. I just came upon it the way one often does online, clicking through from link to link, and eventually ending up somewhere unexpected but necessary.

It’s a wonderful piece, and deserves your attention, as all of her work does, but the passage that intrigued me the most was a paraphrase of something Chip Delany once wrote:

According to Samuel Delany, a literary characterization proceeds by means of three kinds of actions: gratuitous, purposeful, and habitual, and well-written characters perform all three. (This classification certainly applies to realistic fiction, and I suspect it applies to all fiction, however stylized.) Sexist literature produces two kinds of female characters, both imperfect: the Heroine, whose actions are all gratuitious, and the Villainess, whose actions are all purposeful. Neither performs habitual actions.

This stood out for me because, being a writer, I immediately wanted to understand more fully exactly what Delany meant by these three classifications. I could tell the concept would be helpful to my own writing. And as I thought, hmmm, how will I ever track down the source, I suddenly remembered that due to this connected world in which we live, I could simply ask the source directly, since Chip and I are friends on Facebook. So I reached out to query where I could find his full essay explicating this idea.

It turns out the essay “Letter to the Symposium on Women In Science Fiction” originally appeared in an issue of Khatru, and was then reprinted in his non-fiction collection The Jewel-Hinged Jaw. But not, unfortunately, my copy of The Jewel-Hinged Jaw, as it’s a first edition. It can be found in the current expanded edition, though. I decided I’d pick up a copy at this year’s Readercon, where I could get him to autograph it, and then thought nothing more.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

 
 
scottedelman

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Some of the promises made by ads in the backs of old comics were small, like claims a pair of X-Ray Specs would let us see the bones in our hands and through the clothes of our friends. Other promises were larger, such as the one I told you about made in 1932 that a clipped coupon could turn someone into a professional writer.

But the inside back cover of Four Favorites #22 (March 1946) promised the most life-changing reward of all—a movie contract!

FourFavorite22MovieContractAd

Send in a buck and you’d receive the book How to Get Into the Movies, and if you had, why, you might now be as famous as Roger Batton.

Who?

Batton, who provided the testimonial above, claims to have gotten a part in the 1944 film Song of the Open Road thanks to that book. One problem—the IMDb entry for that film includes no one by that name. In fact, there’s no entry for Roger Batton on IMDb at all!

As for Judith Allen, who wrote How to Get Into the Movies, she did seem to have had a legit acting career, though IMDb lists her with a total of 37 credits through 1952, rather than the 52 claimed through 1946 by the ad.

Did her book ever get anyone into the movies other than Batton, who (without having seen the film) I suspect only appeared, if at all, uncredited as one of the “Hollywood Canteen Kids”? There’s no way of knowing, I guess, but if I cared enough, I could check out her advice myself, because there’s a copy of her book available at AbeBooks for only $10.00.

I suspect, however, that her advice, whether the price is one dollar or ten, is still overpriced, and unlikely to get me or anyone else a movie contract. If you’re desperate, though, feel free to give it a shot.

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scottedelman

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve been using a Fitbit since May 4, 2013. That’s right—Star Wars Day. Which seems a perfect day to have introduced a new piece of tech into my life. It’s been a great help in getting me to back away from the keyboard and move, supplementing the plans I’d already made to stay alive as long as possible.

In the 20 months since I strapped a Flex to my wrist, I’ve taken 6,909,017 steps, which works out to having walked 3,440.01 miles. And my feelings toward the product have been mostly positive. But it occurred to me today, as I wrapped a fourth Flex band around my wrist, that there’s one thing I don’t see much of online, even though my friends and I have spoken of it—that those bands wear out far more quickly than we’d expected.

Since the Flex tracks my sleep as well as my activity, I wear it 24/7, only removing it to recharge once every 5-7 days. This means that over the course of these 20 months of use, assuming I recharged at the lower end of the battery life, I would have only slipped the device from one of my wristbands approximately 120 times or so. Split that among the three dead bands, and that works out to only 40 removals and reinsertions each. (Check my math, OK?)

And yet, here’s what the stress of sliding out and then slipping back in those devices has caused those three abandoned wristbands to look like now …

FitbitWristband1Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

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